Men Can Be Victims, Too
Yes, men are also victims of harassment. many of us think it’s a myth, how can
men be harassed when they are the main reason for harassment against women. In
my article, I am going to explain harassment faced by men.
We do not realize that harassment can happen to anyone despite age, gender
identity, religion, and attitude. The attention on harassment towards men is not
as much attention shown towards women.
In the Indian constitution, under article 14 right to equality is mentioned,
but issues related to men are not given enough recognition as compared to issues
related to women.
For example, we can take into account, that there are many sections under the
Indian penal code such as section 354, 376, and 509 which are made for the
protection of women.
Section 354 mentions Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage
her modesty.—Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to
outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may
extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 376 mentions the punishment for rape Whoever, except in the cases
provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven
years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and
shall also be liable to fine unless the women raped is his own wife and is not
under twelve years of age, in which cases, he shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or
with fine or with both: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special
reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a
term of less than seven years.
Section 509 mentions
Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a
woman.—Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word,
makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or
sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such
woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with
So, these sections justify sexual harassment against women and the remedies when
harassment takes place. These sections also define the procedure to take into
action when such an incident takes place. All these sections talk about women
and there is no mention of men and solutions for these issues.
The only section where its mentioned about men is section 377 of Indian penal
code which mention Unnatural offences.—Whoever voluntarily has carnal
intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be
punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description
for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal
intercourse necessary to the offense described in this section.
This clearly show harassment legislation in its present form makes all men
unequal to all women. If the legislation, only considers women issues and not
men issues, it will be a total violation of article 14. Hence, there must be
equal justice serviced for both men and women.
Harassment At The
The sexual harassment act for workplace lays down principles, rules, and
remedies for women who are sexually harassed at the workplace. This act was
specifically made for women. but there is no remedy given for men if they are
sexually harnessed at the workplace. Even the Vishaka Guidelines
are laid down
for women and not for men. When we hear the phrase sexual harassment at
workplace we generally assume it is related to sexual harassment against women.
Laws have been brought up to protect women, but we do not release that even men
get harassed at their workplace.
Yes, they do. We do not know or realize that
such things take place in our society because no one talks or spreads awareness
on such matters. Usually, victims of such harassment don’t report or file claims
because of reasons like not being understood or being unable to share freely
because of the stigma that gets formed. Men are considered as mards
and the fear of getting taunted, insulted, and mocked by their coworkers. Many
might wonder how this can happen, a man being sexually harassed by a woman is
deemed so unlikely that they almost think its bluff and that cannot be true,
they think it’s a myth.
There are barely any cases that have been filed and reported on sexual
harassment on men in India but with growing technology and growing education
with global access to information, people are coming out of their Shell's and
coming to a better understanding that talking about their experiences is not
only going to uncover the tragedy but also is going to set them free
emotionally, physically and mentally.
We can take the movements like #meetoo and
#timesup as great examples, where men gathered up the courage to come and speak
out against the unfair things that happened to them. It's movements like these
that inspired courage in a lot of other people which statistically showed an
increase of 18% in filling reports of sexual harassment at the workplace on men.
According to a survey conducted by economic times called Synovate survey, it was
found 19% of the 527 men surveyed in several metros of the country claimed they
had faced sexual harassment. According to the survey, 51% of the 527 men
surveyed in several metros of the country claimed that they had faced sexual
harassment at work. There was a similar survey conducted by a company called
Viacom 18 in 2013 in which it was found that almost 43 percent of male corporate
professionals were victims of sexual harassment by their colleagues.
As a country, our judicial system works a lot to protect women, while that is a
great feat, we are also not supposed to completely neglect the problems faced by
men. Its high time we bring in the concept of equality even in this matter and
eradicate gender-biased laws. Equal importance should be put into this matter
and work more for the protection of men’s rights at the workplace.
Harassment Based On The Misuse Of Sec 498A
segregation is biased against men. Specifically, Section 498A, the demonstration
that condemns remorselessness against ladies by spouse and his family members,
has been at the focal point of much debate. Men's privileges activists, for
example, the Spare the family establishment
contend that the law is frequently abused by ladies.
Basing upon a 2012 report
on Section 498A from the Government of India, it was found that the
observational examination didn't set up any unbalanced abuse of Section 498A
when contrasted with other criminal laws. However abuse of Section 498A was not
set up, more as of late the Supreme Court came out with orders that each protest
got by the police under Section 498A must be alluded to a Family Welfare
Committee before the police can capture the culprit.
All the more incredible, the law just offers relief to ladies. Men in India
can't profit from a comparative lawful solution for shielding themselves from
abusive behavior at home from either men or ladies. For men, even a
straightforward help of having a male or female assailant avoid them (a limiting
or insurance request) isn't managed by the current law.
In 2016, this segregation was evacuated by the preeminent court itself. The seat
of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman controlled on 6 October 2016
(Thursday) that this arrangement disappointed the target of the enactment since
culprits and abettors of aggressive behavior at home can be ladies as well.
The words grown-up male or adult male has been struck down from the
aggressive behavior at the home act.
A thirty years old man, Pushkar Singh, resident of Jankipuram Sector C, Lucknow
(Uttar Pradesh), committed suicide because of the harassment by his wife. In his
suicide letter, he stated I was sent to jail after a false dowry case was
lodged against me by Vinita and her family, who had demanded Rs 14 lakh as
compensation. Neither my father nor I had seen such a big amount in our lives.
We even sold our house to contest the case. To which he further added I would
also like to request Vinita not to harass my family in future. It was my mistake
to marry her and I am repenting it by sacrificing my life.
A forty-one-year-old man, Rakesh Sheth, who was found dead in Gujarat stated in
his suicide letter that:
If I die, my wife will like it, and he also added
Henceforth my wife can lead a carefree life. My mother-in-law and father-in-law
worship wealth. They do not care about human life. So, I am ending my
life. This man was harassed by his wife and mother in law within six months
of his marriage. He took his own life when he could not withstand it anymore.
These are few of those cases which came into light out of all those false cases
and harassment cases against men.
It is assumed that the accused is innocent until he is proved guilty for his
doings under the eyes of the law. The prosecution comes in position to prove the
case beyond a reasonable doubt. Then the defendant comes to defend the charges
against him and disapproves of the allegations made. This the general procedure
followed at the courts of law but because of the strictness of laws and
gender-biased laws, when a woman files a fir for a matrimonial dispute, the
moment fir is filed, the husband and his relatives are taken into custody for
investigation and the burden of proof lies on the husband to prove the
allegation filed on him is false and he has not committed anything. If he is not
able to prove he should be ready to face the procedure that will be taken into
account by the court.
Under the case, Arnesh Kumar v. the State of Bihar
, the wife claimed she was
demanded dowry and as she could not fulfill the demand she was thrown out of her
matrimonial house. Where the husband and his family were taken into custody
including his aged grandparents. Under this case, the Court laid down some
guidelines that should be followed by the police officer while arresting under
Section 498A IPC, or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, and that such
arrest must be based on a reasonable satisfaction concerning the genuineness of
the allegation. Moreover, even the Magistrates must be careful enough not to
authorize detention casually and mechanically.
Under the case, Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India
 which is one of the
historical cases, the supreme court held sec 498A as legal terrorism. These
amendments were bought in 1985, for the protection of women against dowry
harassment and to empower women about the bad consequences related to dowry.
This is was one of the best steps taken by the government of India and up to an
extent they have been successful. But the strictness of law was taken into an
advantage by the women to file false cases against their husbands to fulfill
It is very sorrowful to see that the law made to protect the rights of women are
being misused for their own advantages. In many cases, parents force the women
to get married and due to this constant pressure, the woman gets married and
when she realizes she cannot survive anymore in the marriage and wants to go
back to her parental house, she misuses the laws linked with dowry demand. And
because of the strictness of the law, the men get accused falsely, that is why
the law should not be gender- biased and should provide both the parties equal
arrangement to resolve the matter. If this does not happen the men will be
deprived of his right to live dignity in a country like India.
The definition of cruelty differs from case to case as the judge has to take
into consideration the mental distress, the injuries faced, complaints and
taunts, and many more things. The cruelty definition is subjective and there is
no exact definition for the formula of cruelty. Cruelty in one case may not be
cruelty in other cases.
Case laws which constitute the grounds of cruelty against husbands in India:
- Kalpana v/s Surendra Nath, both the parties were married and
lived together for one and a half months. The allegations filed against the
appellant was that she humiliated the respondent in from of his friend by
refusing to give tea to them. By the appellant's wish the respondent, joined
her in college for further studied and one day she went to college and never
came back. And she had filed a case against her husband under the dowry
prohibition act. The courts accepted the respondent’s version and held Refusal of contribution in the
household work amounts to cruelty
- Satya v/s Siri Ram, in this case, the wife terminated her pregnancy
twice without the consent or informing her husband. So, the court held that If a
wife deliberately and consistently refuses to satisfy her husband's natural
and legitimate craving to have children, and the deprivation reduces him to
despair and affects his mental health, the wife is guilty of cruelty.
- Anil Bhardwaj vs Nirmlesh Bhardwaj, both the parties were married on
31-1-1979 after their marriage the wife used to not do any household chores, and
when asked she said she was not used to doing household chores. Even then the
husband did not bother. When the husband went to his in-law's house, the
recommended him so stay separately with his wife from his family. But he did not
accept this and because of this, they did allow him to have sexual intercourse
with her. During there stay together she never allowed him for sexual
intercourse and when he attempted, she used to become furious. The court held
that Denial for a physical relationship without sufficient reasons also amounts
- Prem Chandra Pandey vs Smt. Savitri Pandey , the wife has filed a
false case on the husband and his family, that they demanded dowry before the
marriage and after marriage. The demands were not fulfilled by the wife's father
so they tortured her. and she alleged a fake allegation that he has a marriage
with another woman and again married only to fulfill his satisfaction demands.
All these allegations were proved wrong. Hence the court held false allegations
of adultery amounts to cruelty.
- Narendra v. K. Meena, the husband was consistently being compelled
by his wife to live separate from his family members but in the family, he was
the only person earing and who used to maintain the family. While the main
interest of the wife was to spend the husband’s whole income. She also made a
fake allegation on the husband of him having an external affair with their maid.
She also attempted to commit suicide without any reasonable ground by burning
herself after pouring kerosene oil.
Taking in consideration of the law fixed in Pankaj Mahajan v. Dimple @ Kajal
Vijaykumar Ramchandra Bhate v. Neela
, the bench, comprising of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice
L. Nageshwara Rao, On Oct. 06, 2016, held that such continuous pressure on the
husband to separate him from his family by his wife is considered to be the
cruelty because firstly, in Indian society and ethics, son maintaining his
parents is very normal and secondly, in the Hindu society, it is a pious
obligation of the son to maintain the parents.
Other instances of cruelty may also include threats of suicide, fake allegations
of an extramarital affair, looking for second marriage before getting a divorce,
harassing the husband for sending money to her parental house, breaking mangal
sutra before her husband and his relatives, behaving aggressively and
uncontrollably, spreading false harassment stories on her by defaming her
in-laws, threatens to leave the martial house, filing fake FIR of harassment.
Domestic violence against men data
Surveys conducted by Save Family Foundation
and My Nation
, between April 2005 and April 2015 surveyed almost 1,00,000 men
during that one year over the internet. From which the found out that About
98.2% of men had faced serious domestic violence from their wives and in-laws.
physical, verbal, economical, sexual, mental, emotional, and financial abuse are
the violence that men face.
The order of violence based on the affected men:
- 34.3% of men were affected by economic violence.
- 28.6% of men were affected by physical violence,
- 27.5% of men were affected by emotional violence
- 20.4% of men were affected by sexual violence.
- the lowest violence that all the men surveyed faced was verbal abuse.
There should be laws made under the Indian penal code to protect men against
harassment. And men should also be added to the sexual harassment at the
workplace act 1860. We all should know that harassment has the same impact as
anyone it might be a male or female. Female harassment is indeed more, but we
cannot ignore or unseen the fact that men also get harassed. People should the
same kind of interest in men's harassment matters.
Awareness should be spread
that its ok to speak up about the harassment happening against them. There
should be more NGOs, help centers and movements to help the men who face
harassment. Even if laws are bought up, society should go in hand with the
government to bring in light the matters of men's harassment. Men victims should
also be given equal justice to the law.
Written By: Anguluri Yogeetha Sai
- IFIM LAW SCHOOL, 5th semester, 3rd year
- Indian penal code, section 354,1860
- Indian penal code, section 376, 1860
- Indian penal code, section 509, 1860
- INDIA CONST. art. 14,1950
- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and
Redressal) Act, 2013
- Karan Arora, Why India Inc. needs to protect Men against Sexual
Harassment at Workplaces in India- case for gender neutral policies (nov.18,
- Rajesh Kumar, suicide by men due to false dowry cases
(march 13,2009) https://www.lawyersclubindia.com/forum/suicide-by-men-due-to-false-dowry-cases-4667.asp
- (2014) (8) SCC 273
- (2005) (6) SC 266
- AIR 1985 All 253
- AIR 1983 P H 252
- AIR 1987 Delhi 111, ILR 1986 Delhi 383
- 1998 (3) AWC 1903, II (1998) DMC 446
- 2016 (5) Recent Apex Judgments (R.A.J.) 664: 2016 (4) R.C.R. (Civil) 706
(9) JT 564: 2016 (3) DMC 429: 2016 (9) Scale 681.
- (2011) 12 SCC 1
- 2003 (6) SCC 334